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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Improving and Sustaining Soybean Production Worldwide
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World soybean yield loss, due to brief and intermittent soil flooding by rainwater standing on the fields, ranges from 14 to 25% annually. Plants subjected to flooding stress are also less resistant to drought stress later in the growing season. Global climate change may create even greater loss of yield.

 Expected climate change effects:

  •  More intense storms

  •  More rainfall

  •  More ponded water in fields even with good drainage systems


 What we are doing:

  • Developing flood tolerant soybean cultivars by molecular plant breeding and genetic transformation
  • Identifying soybean germplasm with abundant root growth under excessive soil water stress environments
  • Making food production more sustainable and agriculture more productive to help feed a growing world.

 Molecular breeding progress to date:

  • Identified flood tolerant soybean germplasm from

    Asia with profuse adventitious roots and deep root growth in flooded soil. This type of root system will also promote soil carbon sequestration

  • Made crosses with commercial US varieties creating a population of 200 individual lines with varying degrees of flood tolerance

  •  Field tested the population at two locations in 2007 and 2008 and in the greenhouse

  •  Fingerprinted the population with 600 DNA markers



 Genetic transformation progress to date:

  • Transgenic soybeans, containing a gene to alleviate the natural premature aging response to stress, have been developed. These transgenic soybeans remained green and healthy during the late pod-filling stage and produced twice the seed yield of the non-transgenic plants.



Dr. Tara T. Vantoai, Phone: (614) 292-9806


Last Modified: 10/15/2009
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